Sri Lanka vs England: Joe Root’s unbeaten 137 guides visitors to 252/6

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England captain Joe Root continued his mastery over spinners on the sub-continent, reaching a second consecutive hundred with his unbeaten 137 in the second test helping the tourists reach 252 for six at tea on day three Sunday.

England still trailed by 129 runs after the home side was 381 all out in its first innings.

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Root, who had posted his 19th career test hundred before lunch, also passed Kevin Pietersen’s tally of 8,181 test runs to become England’s fifth highest run getter in the five-day format.

Root tallied a double hundred in the first test that England won by seven wickets.

England batsmen have struggled against Sri Lanka’s spin but Root has remained untroubled.

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Root’s plans against spin appeared simple: for full deliveries, defend on the back foot and play the sweep for ones that were short.

Sri Lanka placed three fielders in the boundary to cut off the sweep shot, but Root kept finding gaps.

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He shared a 97-run stand for the fifth wicket with Jos Buttler, who brought up his 18th test half-century after cutting Dilruwan Perera for four.

He was dismissed for 55 as Sri Lanka reviewed a decision to give debutant Ramesh Mendis his maiden test wicket.

Buttler had attempted a reverse sweep but ended up edging the ball to his boot and the short leg fielder Oshada Fernando snapped up the catch.

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Sam Curran survived a leg before shout off Perera and later in the same over deposited one for six over mid-wicket.

In the last over before tea, Lasith Embuldeniya, who was given the new ball from the City End had Curran caught at slip to complete a five-wicket haul, his third in tests.

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